We didn't have a great first day distance-wise, as we took the wrong road when in Plymouth, so we tried going a different way to what we'd planned, which didn't work so well. We set up camp in a field that night, made some tasty chicken fajitas on the camping stove for dinner, and got our heads down.
The next day Jodie's rear pannier rack broke, one of the bolts holding it on had sheered off completely. We found a motorcycle garage that was able to drill the bolt out, and then we fitted a new one. The next day the other bolt sheered off, just as we were coming into Exeter. We knew there was no point fixing it, as it was just going to do the same thing again. So we went to The Bike Hut, where they were able to fit a new rear pannier rack, and even a front one, which we had been told wasn't really possible on Jodie's bicycle. They did a great job on it though, and with a front pannier now fitted the weight was spread more evenly across the bicycle and all was much better.
We had a nice rest day in London on the Saturday, got a few last things sorted, and had a shower for the first time since leaving home. On Saturday night we had a few leaving drinks with friends, was good to see everyone, and a nice send off. We stayed at my brother Tim's house, who fed me well and even put my bicycle in for a final service. The next morning (Sunday), after being told I had my cycling shorts on back to front, we set off again. Nice and sunny to start with, and then gradually the hurricane winds began to build.
I'm a little worried about the fact I called this trip 'The High Road To India', as England proved pretty hilly and tough, especially now that my bicycle wont go into the bottom gear! I'm sure we will gradually get fitter and stronger though, and The Alps will be a nice "little" warm up for the mountains in Kyrgyzstan & The Himalayas.
So, we are in France, currently sat in a McDonalds, where they have free wifi, comfy seats & great toilets. We are now trying to plan our route, as we don't have one yet. It's a little cold and windy still. I found myself wearing my big woolly Russian hat yesterday when we got off the ferry, as I was very cold. I then noticed the temperature on a digital display in a town we were passing....it said 15 degrees Celsius. I instantly took my hat off, and had a little daydream about the -20 degrees in Kyrgyzstan.